Clitheroe soldier in court has lost leg in Afghanistan since offence

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A SOLDIER who used violence towards a man in Clitheroe has since suffered a horrific injury on duty in Afghanistan, a court has heard.

Dominic Giles (21), of Lancaster Drive, Clitheroe, had bitten the nose of a man who tried to stop him arguing on a night out, but since his traumatic injury in Afghanistan, in which he lost a leg, Giles has no memory of the offence, Preston Crown Court was told.

On July 3rd last year the defendant had gone out socialising with girls whose boyfriends were friends of his serving overseas. But after returning to active duty in Afghanistan himself Giles lost his right leg and has since been receiving rehab treatment at Headley Court, in the Midlands.

Giles appeared for sentencing at Preston Crown Court having earlier admitted unlawful wounding, relating to his behaviour on July 3rd.

Mr Adam Watkins (prosecuting) said the victim, Mr Bernard Stewart, knew the defendant and a male he was seen arguing with. Mr Stewart noticed the argument as he was leaving The Dog pub, in Wellgate, Clitheroe.

The argument turned violent and, in an effort to intervene, Mr Stewart took hold of the defendant by his wrists and repeatedly asked him to calm down.

Giles refused to listen and kept saying “get off me”. He seemed determined to get back at the other male. At one point, the defendant lunged forward, face to face, sinking his teeth around Mr Stewart’s lower nose.

He effectively held him in the bite for several seconds, said Mr Watkins, and Mr Stewart could feel blood starting to run down his face. He later needed five sutres inserted in the wound.

Defence barrister Miss Clare Thomas said the case had “exceptional circumstances”. Giles now had no recollection of the offence since being injured in Afghanistan, but fully accepted he was extremely drunk at the time. The defendant had perceived that the girls he was socialising with were approached by a group of men who behaved inappropriately towards them and matters progressed from there.

Miss Thomas explained: “The defendant was under strain at the time. He knew he was to be deployed to Afghanistan in September. He had already lost two colleagues who had been serving in Afghanistan.

“These matters were weighing heavily on his mind at the time. He would offer his sincere apologies to the court and victim.”

Since returning from Afghanistan, Giles had undergone a significant amount of rehab work, receiving daily physio sessions and hoping to return to the services.

The defendant would also be punished by the Army for the offence, explained Miss Thomas, most likely with a fine and drop in rank from that of Lance Corporal.

Sentencing was deferred until May 11th, but the judge, Recorder Nicholas Braslavsky QC, told Giles: “No-one should know better the need for self-control, discipline and restraint than a serving soldier.”